May 1, 2019 - 3min read
Eight races into the 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship and it’s clear this is going to be one corker of a season. Racing around the streets of Les Invalides complex, Paris, here are the five things we think summed up the brilliance that is Formula-E.
1. The title race remains open and unpredictable
Robin Frijns’ win for Virgin Racing on Saturday means that eight different drivers have now claimed victory in eight races this season. Frijns took the lead on Lap 9 after pole-sitter Oliver Rowland crashed out, and his Nissan team-mate and fellow front-row-starter Sébastien Buemi suffered a slow puncture while battling with Frijns for position.
Frijns now leads the championship on 81 points. However, with five races to go the title race remains wide open with the top four drivers within 11 points of each other. Mathematically, any of the top ten drivers in the table could take the championship lead when racing re-commences in the glitzy streets of Monaco on May 11.
2. Landmark Dutch victory in Formula E
Frijns’ win marked not only his first victory in Formula E but the first for a Dutch driver in the competition. Auspiciously it coincided with celebrations of King’s Day in his native Netherlands.
Writing on Twitter afterwards, the 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 Series Champion exclaimed “Still buzzing… The first one is always special. A day I will not forget.”
3. Treacherous weather conditions wreak havoc
Driving in the rain and hail in Paris created an added level of difficulty navigating the 14-turn, 1.93 km circuit. Drivers began under the safety car, and later in the crash-ridden race extreme weather conditions resulted in full course yellow flags to be issued, with a temporary speed restriction of 50 kmph. Despite such adversity, Frijns kept his cool.
Speaking to the BBC afterwards he described the race as the “most difficult” of his career, adding “If you're leading, the last thing you want is rain and everything was unpredictable… It was really difficult conditions. I'm just so happy to win this race."
4. Steady Lotterer mounting challenge
While chaos reigned around him on the slippery asphalt, DS Techeetah driver André Lotterer put in a slick performance and recorded another second-place finish, following on from Rome, and having led much of the race in Hong Kong. Currently only one point behind Frijns in the championship standings, Lotterer is in form, and the man to watch in Monaco.
5. British drivers struggle amid deluge
Gary Paffett’s eighth-place finish was the best of the British competitors, with race three winner Sam Bird finishing 11th. Meanwhile, BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver Alexander Sims’ challenging season continues. Sims was unable to complete the race following an incident where fellow Brit Oliver Rowland locked up into Turn 3 and hit him from behind, sending him into the wall and ending his race. He took to Twitter to express his disappointment:
“That was another disappointing race for me …There was nothing I could do once I got hit from behind.” Sims currently stands 15th in the championship rankings on 18 points, ahead of Paffett (18th on eight points) but behind Rowland (12th on 38 points) and Bird ninth on 54 points).
Sims also added the following, when we spoke to him afterwards:
“Conditions were pretty tricky for everyone and visibility was poor. With it being a temporary circuit, there is road rather than race tarmac, which is extremely slippery in the wet and I was tip-toeing round in places. I’d hoped to drive a clean race, getting more laps under my belt and leaving Paris with a good result. Sadly, that didn’t work out. In Turn 3, Oliver hit me pretty hard. He’d locked up whilst trying to overtake another car; it was just an honest mistake. I guess I helped stop him from hitting the wall! Of course, it’s a shame to end the race like that, but it was out of my control so I can’t dwell on it too much. Now, we’re looking ahead to Monaco, improving our pace and getting a sensible result there.”